How Big Tobacco Targets
submitted by Karen
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (USA -
Here's a little about the targeting of Asian American and Pacific Islander
(AAPI) women by the tobacco industry here in the U.S.
AAPI women, especially younger women, are definitely being targeted by
the tobacco industry here. Since rates of tobacco use of AAPI women here
in the U.S. are traditionally lower than AAPI males, they are seen as
an area of potential "growth" for the industry. Unfortunately,
the industry is also very adept are incorporating culture into their marketing
strategies. For example, the Virginia Slims "Find Your Voice"
campaign ads featured an Asian woman with heavy face paint and silk robes.
They message was that women can become acculturated by smoking, but also
maintain "traditional" parts of their heritage.
APPEAL included some information on AAPI women and smoking in our Educational
Kit on Tobacco Relevancy in AAPI communities. I'm am including what we
wrote here below:
"Young women are America's fastest growing population of smokers.
Between 1960 and 1980, lung cancer death rates among women smokers soared
600%, surpassing breast cancer mortality rates.
Asian American and Pacific Islander women aand girls are turning out to
be the tobacco industry's new target. Tobacco ads developed to hook AAPI
women and girls reinforce a glamorous Western allure tied to smoking cigarettes.
One example is tennis star Michael Chang, who has played in tobacco sponsored
tournaments. He is also a teen idol among AAPI girls, and a symbol of
athletic influence and Western lifestyle. Cigarette ads and brands, such
as Virginia Slims and Newport Lights, also associate smoking with thinness,
sex appeal, empowerment, and an escape from the multiple demands placed
on AAPI women by their families and society.
In some AAPI communities, the stigma against women who smoke is so great
that data most likely underreports AAPI female smoking rates, making this
new group of smokers unreachable by health education efforts. For example,
in Korean communities both in Korea and in the U.S., women and girls frequently
are found smoking only within the privacy of second-floor coffee-houses,
and rarely admit to their habit.
AAPI women also occupy a higher proportion of service-industry jobs and
are less able to control the smoke in their environment at home and at
work. Waitresses are four times as likely to die from lung cancer and
2.5 times as likely to die from heart disease compared to other women.
Finally, since many AAPI males smoke, their spouses and families are also
impacted. AAPI women with spouses who smoke are at an increased risk for
disease and death resulting from secondhand smoke."
-From "Making Tobacco Relevant for Asian American and Pacific Islander
Communities., Winter 2000, Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment and